* Introducing a new monthly segment, in which I will highlight the all-too-frequent instances of incompetent officiating in worldwide boxing, encompassing both refereeing and ringside judging.
Feb. 14th – Ian-John Lewis cemented his reputation as one of boxing’s worst officials with a horror night on Sky’s Brian Rose/Prizefighter bill.
First, during the Prizefighter tournament itself, he badly botched two scorecards, both in favour of hometown lad Jack Arnfield. Despite Mick Hall clearly winning at least two of the three rounds against Arnfield in their quarter-final, somehow Lewis saw all 3 rounds in favour of Arnfield, who scored a dubious split decision win.
Then, in the semi-final, Cello Renda beat Arnfield in the eyes of seemingly everybody, except Lewis, who again scored the fight to Arnfield.
But all this was just a warm-up for the main event, in which Brian Rose was the victim of a horrendously early stoppage against Carson Jones.
It wasn’t just the premature nature of the stoppage which reflected badly on Lewis, however, but simply the indecisiveness of it all. As he has done on multiple prior occasions (for example, Maccarinelli-McKenzie I & McCloskey-Corley), he jumped the gun by stepping between the fighters, and then, after an awkward pause of a few seconds and unable to issue a standing eight count under British rules, realized that he had no choice but to stop the fight. The embarrassed ‘I fucked up’ look on his face post-fight is just the icing on the cake.
How he continues to get work in the UK and abroad (he made numerous errors when refereeing Hopkins-Pascal II) without any consequences for his repeated egregious gaffes is a severe indictment of boxing and its standard of officiating.
Feb. 27th – Max DeLuca turned in a 95-95 scorecard for Pablo Cesar Cano’s clear win over Juan Carlos Abreu.
Feb. 28th – Swedish ref Mikael Hook put Dmitry Chudinov in grave danger in the final round of his fight against Chris Eubank Jr.
With Chudinov all over the place, clearly unable to defend himself and being hit by countless power punches, Hook stopped the fight more than 90 seconds too late. God knows what he was thinking as Chudinov’s crimson mask was sent from side to side like a head on a slinky, and promoters Frank and Francis Warren irately roared at him to stop the fight from ringside (clearly worried that they’d be left with a serious ring injury on their hands).
Hook obviously never learned that the ref’s first responsibility is to protect the health of the fighters.
To quote Barry Jones on commentary: “There’s going out on your shield, and going out on a stretcher”.